Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Monochromatic. Sometimes leads to monotonous, even in the hands of Frank Lloyd Wright; especially when one attends the museum in high anticipation of beholding walls full of brilliant Kandinskys...

...only to discover level after level of architectural designs rendered in the small, artfully accurate and gifted hand of the aforementioned Mr. F.L.W.

So many, in fact, that one actually considers throwing one's self over the edge of one of the aforementioned levels. Unless a devotee of architectural design, blueprints begin to pall after a time, even if many do resemble detailed Star Trekkian utopias .
Hope springs eternal in the human breast and one heads optimistically to the gift shop. Umbrellas printed with an image of the webby sky dome? Alas, even the gift shop disappoints. Note to self: the Googoo (as it likes to call itself) has changing exhibits. Check what's on before slapping down one's admission.

Another somewhat disappointing art experience was the Neue Gallery, where one mistakenly anticipated walls glowing with dazzling Klimts only to be confronted by gloomily decadent Expressionist prints. Nothing for it but to descemd to the basement café for a little refreshment.

Not quite the technicolour gallery experiences I'd hoped for, but charming in their own way.
(she says snootily)

Addendum: I must point out that these museums are wonderful and the exhibits I saw were, indeed, extremely interesting. It's just that my expectations were for something other, so that while I was delighted with what I did see, I was ultimately disappointed by my own hopes. I should have blown my "museum allowance" (time) on the MoMA or the Whitney, I guess. Too many choices, too little time to do it all in one visit. And who knows if I'll ever be able to return.
This is an example of what I was writing about in the post below, how one's state of mind colours one's experience; how expectations can induce a certain
mind set. Everywhere else in NYC I was there with "beginner's mind"--open to whatever presented itself and absolutely delighted with everything I saw. But museums and art...I had expectations.


  1. I had thought that Mr. W might have wished to avoid having the container eclipse rather than display the content.

    The content was very pleasing to my eyes when I was there, although, as with many things in NYC, I intended to be entranced and thus left discernement at the entrance.

  2. FCW: I was entranced with the building itself, which was one of the main reasons I wanted to go to the Goog. And the plans and maquettes were fascinating...but interest paled when viewing sketches ad nauseum. I'm more of a paintings-on-the-wall kind of a person when it comes to art, and there were some, though not a lot, fine examples elsewhere in the building.

    Same with the Neue. Delightful and intriguing display of German expressionists. But only one large Klimt.

    It's that both exhibits didn't live up to my own high hopes and expectations. I was on a tight time schedule,unable to see all the museums and thus, had to perform triage. I was ultimately disappointed in myself for my choices.

    Good excuse to go back and visit the museums I missed. Plus, a big Kandinsky exhibit is now on at the Googoo. Too much, too late.

  3. The layers of whipped cream in that naughty looking desert seem to spiral up in mimic of the spiral floors of the Gug... ah, great expectations, washed up on the shores of reality... not easy to be satisfied at all times in all places... but it certainly seems to have set your observant mind in motion, which with us old-timers dottering along towards their dotage is valuable...

    I love most of all here the black and white cafeteria floor, that set me off on a series of Escher related art flashbacks, but not quite as far back as in your garden there, no, that was something else again. In the meanwhile, don't look now, but I just ate your desert while I had you distracted with these ramblings...

    PS WV was "peedi"

  4. Well,Owen--You're pretty "peedi" for an old codger, slurping up my coffee while distracting me with a barrage of Owenspeak!

    I hope you didn't climb the stairs to the Escher exhibit!

    I walk the line between high hopes and low expectations. Or maybe it's the reverse. Yes, high expectations and low hopes. Better than no hopes.

    Oops! There goes another rubber tree plant.

  5. Oh, oh, oh
    But the NEUE GALERIE is my favorite place on the planet.
    Maybe you need to go there when you haven't see anything else for a little while?
    I do forgive you and buy you a piece of virtual and very decadent CAKE!

  6. Oh but, Elizabeth, I did like the Neue and its lavish atmosphere but I had gone in expecting walls of Klimts!

    I had seen photos on your blog of the downstairs café and was really looking forward to sitting down for a treat, so at least that didn't disappoint. (Your photos were so much more inspiring/enticing than mine!)

    I gladly accept your generous offer of a piece of virtual decadent cake. I hope you're joining me. Would you care for a glass of wine?

  7. Did someone mention wine?
    Looks like a great museum to me, I have a CD by Bongwater and in one of the songs they ramble on about the Metropolitan Museum of Art (which I know isn't THIS museum, but I just wanted to show off my eclectic music tastes...)
    I loved the spiderweb window thing. In the Art Gallery here the photo-police hunt you down if you even look like you're about to take a photo!

  8. Hey Saj, you've really been doing the rounds today. Yes, why don't you sit down with Elizabeth and me and have some cake and wine to round off (no reference to your figure!) the wine and cheese you've had over at my studio.

    There is, in fact, a whole phalanx of photo-police on every floor of the Googoo just waiting to pounce. It's okay to take pix from the ground floor but once you're up on the other levels, no no Nanette. Somehow I managed to get away with it and encouraged my daughter to do the same, at which point she got pounced. I figure it's because she's young and attractive and the photo police are all 20-somethings so don't notice little old ladies like moi.

  9. There are two great shows I'n DYING to see in NYC: Kandinsky at the Googoo (you saw Klimt?) and O'Keeffe at the Whitney. Both opened around sept 17 and will go thru january. I'm shooting for this coming week for sure. And tomorrow is Bright Star (bio of John Keats). You would like it because he's in Italy much of it. And this week I had to show relatives the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and the Empire State Building!

  10. The good life, Margaret! You've got it. I only saw one Klimt--a big one, mind you. I would so love to visit the O'Keefe exibit at the Whitney and the Kandinsky at the Goog. At best, I can hope to catch the Keats bio pic while I'm in Vancouver for the month of October. Do you ever tire of showing visitors the sights? I find it fun to rediscover places we never visit unless company comes. Rediscovering one's own back yard, so to speak.

  11. To add to the art discussion
    the Met always wears me out

    Now the Morgan Library which is wonderful(and not too big) has a Jane Austen thing at the moment.
    Haven't been yet but will keep you posted.

  12. I feel for you!
    I could not visit the Guggenheim the last time I was in NY because I chose the last day of my visit and it was a Thursday, the day they are closed! Who closes a museum in the middle of the week? I was used to check for Monday closures, now I check every sainted day of the week if something is important to me.

    I miss Washington's free museums - so nice to just go visit one painting and not thinking about the entrance fee!